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VIS a VIS: Field Notes on Poetry & Wilderness

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In Vis à Vis, Don McKay charts a vision of poetics that keeps its feet on the ground and its eyes on the horizon. As one of Canada's leading poets, McKay has long been known for his passionate engagement with his natural surroundings. This book collects three essays on this relationship, together with new and previously published poems that further demonstrate these ideas. In Vis à Vis, Don McKay charts a vision of poetics that keeps its feet on the ground and its eyes on the horizon. As one of Canada's leading poets, McKay has long been known for his passionate engagement with his natural surroundings. This book collects three essays on this relationship, together with new and previously published poems that further demonstrate these ideas. Using bushtits, baler twine, Heidegger and Levinas, McKay sets out to explore some of the almost unspeakable concepts driving the use of language particular to poets, and the arguably skewed relationship human beings have with their natural surroundings. In a book the Globe & Mail calls "stylishly constructed" and "impeccably casual," one of Canada's best-loved writers offers his own sense of poetics.


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In Vis à Vis, Don McKay charts a vision of poetics that keeps its feet on the ground and its eyes on the horizon. As one of Canada's leading poets, McKay has long been known for his passionate engagement with his natural surroundings. This book collects three essays on this relationship, together with new and previously published poems that further demonstrate these ideas. In Vis à Vis, Don McKay charts a vision of poetics that keeps its feet on the ground and its eyes on the horizon. As one of Canada's leading poets, McKay has long been known for his passionate engagement with his natural surroundings. This book collects three essays on this relationship, together with new and previously published poems that further demonstrate these ideas. Using bushtits, baler twine, Heidegger and Levinas, McKay sets out to explore some of the almost unspeakable concepts driving the use of language particular to poets, and the arguably skewed relationship human beings have with their natural surroundings. In a book the Globe & Mail calls "stylishly constructed" and "impeccably casual," one of Canada's best-loved writers offers his own sense of poetics.

30 review for VIS a VIS: Field Notes on Poetry & Wilderness

  1. 5 out of 5

    Colby Stolson

    Hardly a point in the book I couldn't grapple with. That is to say I think I got it, which is to say it is written clearly, with conveyance in mind. There's new zest in metaphor for me, a device I had been thinking was old and easy, not of concern to the new poetry. I like what McKay has to say about it, and I'll feel less guilty using it myself. Still, the practice examples (poems) to the theory often were conspicuous, i.e, a huge gap was present to what I felt the theory was intending and what Hardly a point in the book I couldn't grapple with. That is to say I think I got it, which is to say it is written clearly, with conveyance in mind. There's new zest in metaphor for me, a device I had been thinking was old and easy, not of concern to the new poetry. I like what McKay has to say about it, and I'll feel less guilty using it myself. Still, the practice examples (poems) to the theory often were conspicuous, i.e, a huge gap was present to what I felt the theory was intending and what the poems accomplished, but that's a classic divide. The Bushtits' Nest was the most rewarding part for me. Thank you.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Margaryta

    A quick yet interesting meditation on nature and the role of both nature poets and the reader as an individual in this cycle.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lesliemae

    I have only read the first chapter of this book of poetry/philosophical musings and already I am completely captivated by it. It is not the sort of book to rush through it is that once and awhile rare gem that must be savoured.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nick Seeger

    An excellent exploration of the philosophical and poetic implications of wilderness and the appropriation of the 'other' through the various effects of anthropocentrism, domestication and identification. It was interesting to find that this collection of essays spent as much time musing on the wilderness of technology or tools as it did on birds or explicitly ecological concerns. Above all, this was an enjoyable read with many anecdotes from the perspective of the author who is himself an avid b An excellent exploration of the philosophical and poetic implications of wilderness and the appropriation of the 'other' through the various effects of anthropocentrism, domestication and identification. It was interesting to find that this collection of essays spent as much time musing on the wilderness of technology or tools as it did on birds or explicitly ecological concerns. Above all, this was an enjoyable read with many anecdotes from the perspective of the author who is himself an avid birder and nature poet.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    *Part of my read all the poetry project* More prose than poetry, and not exactly the most accessible prose. A most gorgeous book to read in print however - the weight of the paper, the illustrations, a real pleasure to hold in the hand.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jacob Rose

    Loved it

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Marie

  8. 5 out of 5

    Angela

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jessie Taylor

  10. 5 out of 5

    Di

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lyndsay

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  13. 5 out of 5

    Gordon

  14. 5 out of 5

    Monty

  15. 5 out of 5

    Keighlagh

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jade Colbert

  18. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

  19. 5 out of 5

    Matty Pike

  20. 5 out of 5

    Peter

  21. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ariel

  23. 4 out of 5

    Danny

  24. 5 out of 5

    M

  25. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

  26. 4 out of 5

    Martin Wallace

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Porter

  29. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Hollett

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nolan Natasha

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